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The Enduring Appeal of the Erotic Maid

With new such services popping up left and right, we talk to former patrons, a sex therapist and a social psychologist about why that uniform makes men go wild

Tom was visibly nervous about hiring an erotic maid on Craigslist, but she immediately put him at ease, chatting with him for 30 minutes before heading into the bathroom to change. Tom stripped down to his shirt, and she came out in “one of those latex sexy maid outfits.” She got to work cleaning while he watched and masturbated.

Tom hired her again. During their second session, she encouraged Tom to grind against her while she was bent over cleaning, dry-humping her until he came — then she left. She returned for more jobs, and soon, she and Tom became something like friends. The dry-humping graduated to intercourse. In their final session, they had anal sex while she did the dishes, and he thought about how he’d never see her again. “It’s still a wonderful memory,” Tom tells me, 15 years later.

Tom isn’t alone in his attraction to hiring a naked woman to clean for him. The industry, however, has graduated from Craigslist’s “casual encounters.” Today, some independent housekeepers list their nude-cleaning affinity on, while in the U.S. alone, there’s Naughty Angels Cleaning, Elegant Cleaning by Design, A Little Bit Dirty and Very Sexy Cleaning — not to mention L.A.’s HOT TOPLESS MAIDS and their infamous pink vans. (As we found out last year, the company now employs naked male maids, too; FWIW: Our office has never been cleaner.)

So what is it about janitorial work that turns on guys like Tom?

According to Alana Ogilvie, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Portland who specializes in sex therapy, “There are a lot of reasons someone might find this kind of service sexually appealing: Perhaps the power dynamic is sexually attractive, maybe they have a particular fetish or kink that revolves around aspects of the scenario like the clothing, the act of cleaning, the belief that this is some kind of role play, etc.,” she explains.

For his part, Tom was after something new. At the time, he says, he’d occasionally experimented with other types of sex workers, and “even though it seemed like this wasn’t going to involve touching or intercourse, it was something different, so I gave it a try.”

Interestingly, he didn’t really care so much for the sexy maid outfit. However, that outfit can be a force for men who have similar fantasies. Justin Lehmiller, author of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, tells me that 48 percent of the 4,000 Americans he surveyed for his book had fantasized about specific uniforms, and 4 percent of those people specifically mentioned maid uniforms. “Uniform fantasies can be viewed as a form of clothing fetishism and likely stem from previous learning experiences in which one forms an association between a specific uniform and sexual arousal,” he explains. “For example, it’s not uncommon to see attractive women wearing skimpy maid costumes in the movies and on TV, which might lay the groundwork for straight men to think of maids as sexy.”

He adds, “Uniforms and costumes also might be a way that people seek to act out BDSM desires because [they] can be symbols of power or status, or a lack thereof.”

This seems to be the case for Tom, since the submissive act of role play eventually turned into full-on intercourse during which both parties totally ignored each other. “I only ever had sex with her from behind and while she was cleaning. And when [we did], it was almost like neither of us acknowledged it was happening,” he says. “We’d be having a conversation and I’d slip it in and she’d continue to clean as though nothing out of the ordinary was going on.” Only once the sex picked up, would she stop cleaning. For instance: Tom recalls a time when she was scrubbing the shower, but once he started “pounding hard,” she stopped cleaning and “bent forward more so she could support herself against the far wall until I finished.”

Per Ogilvie, “When you hire someone to do a job, there’s an exchange of power that occurs — and the term used often in BDSM dominant/submissive relationships to describe something like [this] is called ‘service submission.’ It describes a [consensual, pre-negotiated] relationship dynamic where submissives are asked to contribute resources to the dominant partner, provide for some of their needs or advance their dominant’s goals.”

“I suspect if there were an anthropologist present, they would say [sexualizing maids] goes back to slavery, ruling people and the eroticization of class inequality,” Louise Rafkin, author of Other People’s Dirt: A Housekeeper’s Adventures From Cape Cod to Kyoto, told my colleague C. Brian Smith when he hired the aforementioned nude male maid to clean MEL’s offices. Smith also floated the idea that hiring a sexy cleaning service is a little easier to swallow than hiring a sex worker: “‘I called a naked house cleaning service’ sounds a lot more gentle than ‘I called a prostitute,’” he writes.

Perhaps this is why, over time, Tom found he was “more interested in the sexual aspect of our relationship than the cleaning,” adding that he “once suggested regular sex on [his] bed, but she shot that down. So somehow, this was part of the fantasy for her, too, and I was fine with that.”

In the end, his specific fantasy was more about the taboo, secretive nature of the experience. “Here was a nice, normal girl who went about her daily life and none of her friends had any idea that she was putting on an erotic maid uniform and letting some guy have sex with her while she cleaned his apartment,” Tom explains. “Doing something in private that everybody else may disapprove of is fun, and since it’s completely consensual, there’s no harm in it.”

Eventually, Tom’s erotic maid moved away. Today, he says he’s interested in finding another — but only for the taboo sex. Because when it came to scrubbing the floors, he was usually on his own. “She was a mediocre cleaner,” he admits. That said: “I was a single guy at the time and really didn’t care about having a spotless apartment.”

Plus, he was mainly concerned that she take care of his dirty mind.